Lee Whitlock

I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I simply could not navigate the system. I had to get Jason’s help, and I’m still not sure I can find Forums on my own yet. I need to watch the videos a third time.

I’m at the Abbey of Gethsemani this week seeking spiritual medicine to complement the medicine I take for my physical condition. In addition to not being able to navigate the system, I have been busy being quiet. Rather than being exhausted, I’m refreshed by this week, but I find that it takes a great deal of time to be quiet. We just finished with “Vespers” followed by supper, and 22 minutes we will celebrate “Compline”. Where has the day gone?

Rick and Joy, I did not find the material in Chapter 3 as helpful as you did. My training is more in the theological and Biblical arena and reading about the literature did little for me. Your discussions about the material helped me more. I did perk up, however, when I read the following in Chapter 3:

“For Ellis, religion is directly correlated with the development of emotional disturbance. In essence, people disturb themselves by adopting absolutist belief systems which trap them in a maze of ‘absolutistic shoulds, oughts and musts’, which inevitably inhibit their emotional development and sabotage their mental health.”

In my work with the addicted persons in our community, I find that many of them came out of “absolutist belief systems.” They were turned off to religions because of the “shoulds, oughts, and musts” that were given to them by family and church. I like the word “religion.” It comes, as you know, from a Latin root meaning “to rebind.” Religion is a process whereby we rebind ourselves with God each time we fall away. It is a loving approach. Addicted persons are more attracted to a “Spiritual” terminology to aid in their rebinding.

When I’ve gone through counseling to deal with some of my own issues, I always sought a counselor who had training in pastoral care. I wanted someone who understood my theological approach. I wanted someone who understood what I meant when I told them that often I felt like Jacob at the Jabbok River wrestling with God. I once contacted a Jesuit to discuss this struggle. I told him that I had wrestled with God for most of my life, and that I felt like I had been in a 24/7 bar fight and I was beaten and tired. Yet, I still said to God, “I’ll not let you go until you bless me.” The wise Jesuit replied, “Yea, but you ought to see the other Guy in the fight.” It was then that I realized that God was saying back to me, “I’ll not let you go until you accept the blessings I’m already given you.” God was not telling me I should or ought or must; S/He was telling me that life would be easier if I accepted the God of the NT that was intent on my being happy, joyous, and free. I have been fond of Jesus saying to the disciples in Luke, “Little flock (children), it is God’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” I realized that what this loving Father was saying, “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, then recognize that IAM intent on giving you the best that I have beginning with my only Begotten Son!”